I'm not sure what forum this belongs on, so I'll try here as my current emotional state is centering around frustration.
I'm new here, and I'm struggling with the large decision about whether to reinstate my engagement to my (ex?)fiance. We're both struggling with the decision, together. Brief background: we've been together 3 years. He's been diagnosed ADD for 6 months. He sees a therapist who doesn't specialize in ADD, but he likes her quite a bit and she's smart and quick on the uptake and willing to read and learn to try to help him. He has a prescription for Adderall, but doesn't like how he feels on it and takes it only when approaching a conversation-intensive task.
Our relationship has so many positives that at times I feel guilty and petty and as if I have unrealistic expectations for wanting more. I've read extensively here in the past few days and I see so many of my struggles recounted in others' posts, I don't know whether to be really relieved or really scared. He's my closest friend and as a friend he's just amazing. I really love him, his good heart and his kooky ideas and his sponteneity and genuine warmth, but as a romantic partner, someone I am supposed to be able to depend on and lean on when times are hard? I just don't think he's capable of that. And it kills me, because I don't know if I'm capable of being with someone who can't pull their share of the load.
I know from reading here that I don't have to list some of the basics, his inability to finish a task or show up when he's supposed to or to decide which is more important: putting his clothes in the dryer, finding his ipod, or picking up his girlfriend in time for an appointment. He eats us out of house and home. His finances are a mess. He is often clueless as to how we've arrived in an argument or a hurtful situation, when to me it's transparently clear how we've gotten there. He's left me stranded --- yeesh, I can't count how many times. He tries to grab the check at a restaurant when I know and he knows he's overdrawn. He doesn't own a car and doesn't seem to respect all of the money and time and paperwork others have to do to maintain the one he's asking to borrow. When we first started dating he left his pets at my house "for a week" that turned into 11 months.
But beyond that general stuff, which I really think I could learn to live with, there are things that are incredibly important to me in a relationship that I'm struggling so much with. Namely, and this is hard to admit - I have a hard time respecting him sometimes. I come from a family of hard workers. Men and women alike are self-disciplined and they show love for their families by working hard for them and fixing things, driving people to and from airports, shoveling snow and working and raising children and doing charity work. They are dependable. Whereas my fiance... he's good hearted, he tries, but he is the opposite of self-disciplined and sometimes it's hard for me to find respect for him when I value that trait so much. He says he's an ideas person - and he is, he has terrific ideas and he could talk a dog off a steak. But I have to constantly remind him that words are not actions. Saying something isn't enough! Actually DOING it is what makes something real. As a romantic partner, sometimes I feel like I get fed plate after plate of imaginary food and he's bewildered as to why I'm not getting full... metaphorically speaking.
So the respect thing is huge. And so is the resentment. He resents that I am not as laid-back as he is. I try to tell him - before he came into my life, I was way more laid back! But in the last 3 years, it's like he uses all the laid-back-ness we have available to us as a couple. One of us has to be the grown up for our lives to work, and he's never willing for that to be him. He's not capable of filling that role. So it falls to me more than ever when I'm with him. And he resents that I'm not "fun" more often, and that I "work too hard". And I resent that he doesn't see the sheer volume of work it takes to keep two adult's lives going. Of course it's hard work! I have two times the amount of responsibility I used to have. These are major issues for us.
Another of his big issues with me - he says my anger and hurt "come out of the blue" and that they are so unpredictable, it scares him. Before his ADD diagnosis, I couldn't believe he could say that and it always confused me. I've never been told that by another partner, ever. I am not an angry person. I'm pretty quiet and even-tempered. The times I get angry and hurt are in my opinion not only justified, but pretty well provoked. After his diagnosis his therapist said that perhaps the reason he can't predict my anger or hurt is because he doesn't think through the logical consequences of some of the things he says. And what looks like a clear-cut case of being incredibly hurtful, to me, is just an interesting new conversational topic to him. So my anger is bewildering and "out of the blue" to him. From my perspective I give many, many verbal and nonverbal signals to tell him his words are becoming hurtful. He just can't sense them.
So we've taken a relationship break to think about our feelings and what we think we can handle as a couple. We have so much love between us. Emotionally I've never felt so cherished, and not in the hyperfocused way I've read about, but in a gentle and warm love. But the mechanics of the relationship... I don't know that I can carry the load for us both without too much resentment, or that it would be fulfilling for me. I should add that I have a child, too, so feeling like my partner is yet another responsibility makes him seem "childlike" and like less of a romantic equal. There are other things, but I think that's all I can write about at this point. Thanks for reading....